President Bill Clinton signed federal legislation Wednesday advancing a California Indian tribe's ambitions of opening a Nevada-style gambling house in the San Francisco Bay Area. Casino san.
News of Clinton's action was welcomed by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, whose members want to gain control of an existing card club in San Pablo so it can install 1,000 to 2,000 slot machines in the club.
An amendment in the legislation orders the secretary of the interior to receive a deed for the land beneath the card club, Casino San Pablo, and hold it in a trust for the Lyttons. The next step is for the tribe to obtain a state gambling agreement, a move that will force Gov. Gray Davis to make a tough call.
Davis negotiated a landmark accord with the state's Indian tribes during the fall of 1999, granting them exclusive rights to operate Nevada-style casinos in California, on their reservations. He has also said, however, that he does not want to see a major expansion of gambling in the state, particularly in urban areas.
San pablo casino
How Davis handles the Lyttons' request could foreshadow how he will respond to future proposals to open gambling houses in urban areas.
Tony Cohen, an attorney representing the Lyttons, said tribe members were excited by Wednesday's development, which ended efforts by the Lyttons to have the land placed in a trust for gambling.
"Now we're just looking forward to working with the governor's office and getting a compact like every other compacted tribe in the state," Cohen said.
The Lyttons have won support for their project from San Pablo city officials and the union employees working at the club, among others.
A spokesman for Davis declined to comment Wednesday.